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Leek's Citizen's Advice Bureau set to move into Moorlands House

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: April 09, 2014

By Belinda Hargreaves

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A Town's Citizen's Advice Bureau is set to move after more than 35 years at the same building.

Staffordshire Moorlands District Council's cabinet yesterday, Tuesday, approved the move of the Leek CAB into its Moorlands House offices, off Stockwell Street.

Leek's CAB was set up at Bank House in St Edward Street, after Leek Town Council purchased the former bank in 1979 for it to be used for community facilities such as the CAB, along with a day care centre which is still at the building.

With four paid staff, and 17 volunteers, the CAB is run by a board of 11 trustees.

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Currently open as a drop-in centre on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays between 9.15am and 12.15pm, the CAB is set to now be available, at least to book an appointment, five days a week, with a reception presence at the One Stop Shop in Moorlands House.

The CAB will also have a number of rooms on the ground floor within the council offices to use for interviews, offering advice and support to the public. Chairman of the Leek CAB Keith Hoptroff, who lives in Leek, said: "This move will give the CAB a bit more scope to expand the services. With the increase in people visiting the CAB, it is getting cramped in Bank House.

"We are hoping that the move will take place around September this year."

Mr Hoptroff, who has been chairman of Leek CAB for the past three years, added: "We have seen an increase in demand for the CAB of around 40 per cent.

"Thankfully we are getting more and more volunteers to help with that demand, but we need the space to be able to operate better and to be able to offer the training needed within the bureau."

Fellow trustee of the CAB Brian Bogie, who lives in Cheddleton, added: "I think it's great news.

"The CAB will now have a five-day-a-week reception and the rooms which the CAB will be using will provide people with much more confidentiality and privacy. People need that at a Citizen's Advice Bureau."

Mr Bogie also emphasised that the financial situation will also be a "win-win" for all.

He said: "The council has the space and we are always battling with cuts in funding. The rent will be the same for us as it is now at Bank House, and this will secure the future of the CAB for Leek."

District council leader Sybil Ralphs said at yesterday's cabinet meeting: "I have to say that I am delighted that we have this agreement and we can show how much we appreciate what the bureau does.

"To have them in Moorlands House is a way forward and members of the public will get used to coming to Moorlands House for advice, from both us and the CAB."

As for the rooms that the CAB will be vacating at Bank House, Jill Norman of Support Staffordshire, which manages the building, said: "We always need space here. We have a number of organisations within the building.

"We will rearrange to utilise the space.

"I think it's great that the CAB has found better facilities as they have outgrown the space they currently have here."

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